Spatial analysis of globally detected volcanic lightning from the June 2019 eruption of Raikoke volcano, Kuril Islands
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The 21–22 June 2019 eruption of Raikoke volcano, Russia, provided an opportunity to explore how spatial trends in volcanic lightning locations provide insights into pulsatory eruption dynamics. Using satellite-derived plume heights, we examine the development of lightning detected by Vaisala’s Global Lightning Dataset (GLD360) from eleven, closely spaced eruptive pulses. Results from one-dimensional plume modeling show that the eruptive pulses with maximum heights 9–16.5 km above sea level were capable of producing ice in the upper troposphere, which contributed variably to electrification and volcanic lightning. A key finding is that lightning locations not only followed the main dispersal direction of these ash plumes, but also tracked a lower-level cloud derived from pyroclastic density currents. We show a positive relationship between umbrella cloud expansion and the area over which lightning occurs (the ‘lightning footprint’). These observations suggest useful metrics to characterize ongoing eruptive activity in near real-time.
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